15 Ways to Transform a Small Patio Into a Relaxing Retreat

With the right furniture and accessories, even the smallest patio can become an inviting, private escape. Try these ideas to transform your underused patio into a secluded oasis for lounging and entertaining.

By: Rebecca Ridner

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Photo By: PopFizz | Bryan Allen

Create Layers of Comfort

Dress your patio from top to bottom to make even the smallest space feel like an inviting retreat. Add lushness with layered outdoor rugs, throw pillows, greenery and string lights.

Hang Curtains

Hanging curtains is an inexpensive and easy way to create a temporary wall — perfect for renters and anyone else whose neighbors are a bit too close for comfort. Flowing, gauzy fabric softens this patio while adding privacy.

Make a Statement With Lighting

Good lighting will not only help you enjoy your patio after the sun goes down but will also draw your eye vertically — important in a small space. This rattan pendant light makes a statement and shines a glow on the conversation area. Make sure to use outdoor cords and light bulbs.

Provide Extra Seating

Floor pillows and a pouf add color and extra seating without taking up a lot of room. They store easily and can be pulled out when guests come over.

Include a Place to Lounge

The right seating can turn an underused patio into the perfect place to start or end your day. Whether it’s a daybed, hammock or lounge chair, add a comfy place to sit back and put up your feet.

Choose Multifunctional Furniture

Furniture that can pull double duty is perfect for smaller spaces. Think creatively: this jute pouf can function both as a side table or extra seating when needed.

Bring in Greenery

An integral part of any outdoor room, greenery adds a vibrancy that you just can't get from anything else. Bring color and texture to your patio with a variety of potted plants.

Think Vertically

Going vertical is a smart way to display plants when you’re short on space. This DIY freestanding plant wall will also help create privacy as the plants grow.

Design a Cozy Dining Nook

Love to dine alfresco but have a tight space? Bistro tables are the perfect solution. This folding table provides seating for two and can be easily tucked away.

Play Some Tunes

Atmosphere is everything, and soothing music sets the mood for your oasis. Whether you’re relaxing alone or hosting friends, music will drown out distractions and noisy neighbors. A small outdoor Bluetooth speaker will fill your patio with sound and can be stored when not in use.

Add Pops of Color

Neutral tones are relaxing, but a splash of color keeps things interesting. Add some pops of blues and greens to complement your natural surroundings without overpowering their beauty.

Boost Privacy

Creating a sense of enclosure in your outdoor room will make it feel like a secluded oasis. Use a privacy screen to block a bad view or nosey neighbors. Upcycle some old shutters and a few hinges into a folding partition.

Wheel Out a Bar Cart

If you don’t have room for an outdoor kitchen, a bar cart can be just as useful. You can easily roll it from indoors to outside, keeping your drinks and appetizers within arm's reach.

Consider Rattan

This isn't your grandma's furniture — rattan has made a huge comeback. Whether painted a bold color or left natural, rattan furniture will instantly add interest and texture to any space.

Make a Space-Saving Fire Pit

The glow of a fire pit draws people together and gives off warmth. Even the smallest outdoor room can benefit from a fire feature like this DIY tabletop version, which offers the beauty of a full-size fire pit while saving floor space.

More from:

Outside, In Reach

Next Up

Small-Space Living Room Layouts

Use smart strategies to make your small living room feel larger.

Small Space Ideas for the Bedroom and Home Office

Small space decorating can be a big challenge. Steal these smart ideas to transform your cramped bedroom or home office and maximize your space.

Outdoor Living Spaces: Ideas for Outdoor Rooms

Learn about options and ideas for outdoor rooms and outdoor living spaces.

Small Bathroom Decorating Ideas

Gather small bathroom decorating ideas, and get ready to add style and appeal to a snug bathroom space.

Small, Shared Kids' Room Storage and Decorating

An 8-by-10-foot shared Brooklyn bedroom for twins? Yes, it can be done with creative use of vertical storage space and multi-purposing tricks.